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Massachusetts G.L. c. 265, § 13B: Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under Age 14; Penalties

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, section 13B, it is a crime to commit an indecent assault and battery on a child who is younger than age 14. A defendant can be convicted under this statute only if the Commonwealth proves the following elements, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The victim was under age 14 at the time the defendant committed the alleged act;
  2. Without legal justification or excuse, the defendant intentionally touched the body of the alleged victim; and
  3. The touching of the victim’s body was “indecent.”

The statute does not define the word “indecent.” However, the word is to be applied as it is commonly understood. For example, a touching that is fundamentally harmful or offensive to a reasonable person might be considered indecent. This would include touching another person’s genital area, breast, buttocks, or any other area of the body that a person would commonly think to be private.

Related Offenses
  • G.L. c. 265, § 13B ½ (aggravated indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14)
  • G.L. c. 265, § 13B ¾ (indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14 after a prior sex offense)
  • G.L. c. 265, § 13F (assault and battery on an intellectually disabled person)
  • G.L. c. 265, § 13J (assault and battery on a child under age 14 which caused bodily injury, or which causes substantial bodily injury)
Defenses to Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under Age 14

Unlike a standard charge of assault and battery, it is not a defense to G.L. c. 265, § 13B to claim that the child consented to the physical touching, because the statute expressly states that a child under age 14 “shall be deemed incapable of consenting” to such conduct. However, if the defendant had a legal justification or excuse for touching the child indecently – for example, a medical provider who had a medical reason to examine the child – this would be a valid defense to the crime. It would also be a defense that the defendant’s touching occurred accidentally, rather than intentionally.


If convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under age 14, the defendant will face up to ten years in state prison, or up to two and one-half years in the house of corrections. Conviction may also require the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under Age 14 Defense Lawyer Stephen Neyman

A defendant charged under G.L. c. 265, § 13B faces serious consequences if convicted of the crime. Like other crimes involving child victims, the Commonwealth will prosecute this offense aggressively. If you have been charged with indecent assault and battery on a child, contact Attorney Stephen Neyman. Attorney Neyman is highly experienced in criminal defense representation, and has skillfully represented clients who have been charged with sex crimes and crimes of violence, with protection of the clients’ rights of the highest priority. Call our office at 617-263-6800 for a free consultation today.

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